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John Williams Themes, Part 4 of 6: The Raiders March (Indiana Jones’ Theme) — 8 Comments

  1. This is a really wonderful article! As a student studying music the analysis you make of the piece not only makes me appreciate John Williams’ genius even more, but will undoubtedly help me to compose my own music better. Well done, a real treasure!

    • Thanks, Adam! Glad you like the article. Another Williams post will be coming out in June on his Superman theme as a prelude to Zimmer’s Man of Steel score, which I hope to write about as well. Cheers.

      • Concerning the Superman themes, I can’t wait to read your posts in June.

        Do you think that it is apropos for the new film to completely scrap the JW music and go with the newer modern sounds of Zimmer?

        I personally love JW’s music and find it hard to believe that Zimmer can write anything that musically comes close to JW’s Superman theme.

        Perhaps you can write a compare/contrast post concerning this superhero’s music.

        • Hi Marcus – a pair of compare/contrast posts on Superman is exactly what I intend to do! The third trailer for Man of Steel has some music that I assume is part of Zimmer’s score, and it’s interesting because I actually hear a couple of nods to Williams’ theme. They’re subtle, but I think they’re there – something I’ll discuss in the posts.

          As to whether something different is apropos, I suppose I’m always open to new approaches. From the sounds of it, Zimmer’s score will be nothing like Williams’, and I think that’s a good thing. The film looks like it will be entirely different – less light-heartedness and more contemplative seriousness. The light-heartedness is something that Williams says was very important for him when he was writing the Superman theme, so to me, a film with more gravitas just wouldn’t work with Williams’ score. My thought is that Zimmer’s score will be appropriate in its own different way. One thing that Zimmer is very good at is finding the right emotional quality for the various scenes in the score. Williams of course does this incredibly well too. In short, I’m not expecting to be disappointed with the new score, even if it is miles away from Williams’ iconic theme.

  2. Thank you for the analysis. For us non-musically literate types it world be great if you could follow the notation shown above, at least roughly perhaps using midi, of the musical parts in question. Otherwise a great article and site.

    • In case you’re looking for MIDI arrangements, look no further than rips from LucasArts’ DOS games from the late 80s to the mid-90s. I think for the Raiders’ March, the best choice would be the MIDI file from “Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis”. Clint Bajakian has always done a great job transcribing Williams’ music.

  3. This theme is absolutely the most perfect “I’m going on an adventure” theme ever written. When going on a vacation, try playing this. If you’re a parent, your kids will love it blasting in the car for a road trip!

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